Troops molesting monarchs, pregnant women at checkpoints – Rep

The House of Representatives has urged the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to order the removal of illegal roadblocks set up by men of the Nigeria Police Force on roads across the country.

The lawmaker representing the Ihiala Federal Constituency in Anambra State in the House, Ifeanyi Momah, at the plenary on Wednesday raised the alarm over accidents being caused by roadblocks along the Onitsha-Owerri Expressway.

In a motion titled, ‘Need to Investigate Loss of So Many Lives along the Onitsha-Owerri Express Road within the Ihiala Federal Constituency’, Momah noted that for over two years, military and police checkpoints in lhiala had been operational to quell insecurity in the area.

The lawmaker said, “Road users have since been subjected to devastating, degrading and inhumane treatment occasioned by the operation of the military and police checkpoints in that area. Being a major express road, the negative impact of these military checkpoints has been grave on the community as well as all the road users.

“In this menace, no one is spared; all suffer under the weight of oppression. Men, women and children are forced to alight from their cars and raise their hands and pass through the checkpoints.

“Nursing and pregnant women are also not spared. In fact, nursing mothers are made to carry their babies up high as they walk across the checkpoints, sometimes being forced to walk for over one kilometre.

“Very recently, a pregnant woman on a bike was whipped thoroughly at a military checkpoint. Traditional rulers are also stopped and searched in an embarrassing manner, including ransacking of their traditional attire.

“The House is cognisant that the military and police checkpoints are located in the middle of the busiest road in the entire local government area, opposite Abbot Boys Secondary School Ihiala, and opposite the Ihiala Divisional Police Headquarters, both located in the same axis, an area that ought not to be associated with a military checkpoint.

“As is popular knowledge, military checkpoints are to be stationed at border communities. Thus, this military checkpoint ought to be mounted at the Amorka community, which is the border between the lhiala Local Government Area and Imo State, and not its current location, which is a commercial hub crammed with markets, businesses, schools etc.”

According to the lawmaker, leaders of the community have asked that the checkpoints be relocated due to the difficulties they cause.

READ ALSO We refer to human heads as balls, hearts as transformer, hands as fans – Suspected ritual killers arrested in Ogun confess

Momah recalled how on May 30, 2020, a police makeshift roadblock allegedly caused a fatal crash in Ihiala, which led to the death of a truck driver, his assistant and over 10 bus passengers.

He also recalled how on November 4, 2021, around 3.50pm, a crash involving three vehicles on the Onitsha-Owerri-Ihiala Road claimed the lives of three children and six adults as the driver of one of the vehicles, upon sighting the police checkpoint, tried to apply the brakes but they failed, thus resulting in the fatal accident.

The lawmaker also recalled that on November 28, 2021, a truck conveying a container load of goods ran over 20 road users, who died on the spot.

The lawmaker also prayed the House to ask the IG to direct the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State to review the location of the police checkpoint in Ihiala “with a view to forestalling further occurrence of such disaster, especially during the festive season.”

Another member, Yusuf Gagdi, however, noted that lawmakers had been individually and collectively raising issues over the security crises across the country, “and here we have a community that has checkpoints for the purpose of protecting lives and property of the people, as one of the primary responsibilities of the government.”

Gagdi said security operatives should be cautioned about how they carry out their duties, especially regarding human rights.

He said, “It will be strange if I have a checkpoint in my community and maybe as a result of the nocturnal behaviour of those security agents, my community will want to attack the security agents. It sounds a bit strange to me.

“So, yes, the activities of the security agents at the various checkpoints must be checked; they should not take maintenance of law and order for granted and begin to trample upon the fundamental rights of the citizens of this country.”

Another member, Shehu Koko, noted that illegal roadblocks should be removed, warning that security operatives should not be attacked over alleged rights abuses, adding that it was the prerogative of the IG and not the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State to order the removal of the roadblocks.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, insisted that there were hostilities between the security operatives on the road and the people in the area.

He also decried that the reconstruction of the Onitsha-Owerri road had suffered delays despite that it, along with 12 other roads, had been given to private entities as concession, which had worsened the plights of the people using it.

Another member, Dachung Bagos, prayed the House to urge the IG “to ensure the removal of illegal checkpoints across the country.”

The lawmakers unanimously granted the prayer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.